Would you allow someone to pitch a tent and live in your backyard? If the answer is “no”, then why would you allow yourself to become emotionally connected to a man or woman who is not your husband or wife?
The inspiration for this question comes from an excerpt from a phenomenal book called “The Truth about Men” written by Devon Franklin. In this book, he addresses the dangers of creating emotional connections with individuals who are not your spouse.
In our most vulnerable times, people often gravitate toward the empathetic, listening ear of individuals who they feel comfortable opening up to and sharing with.
However, when does this sharing cross the line into emotional infidelity?
An emotional affair can be defined as an extramarital affair in which one spouse experiences increasing sexual tension and chemistry due to an increase of sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with someone else.
There is a space, a certain sacred bond of which only husband and wife should share certain intimacies and vulnerabilities within the confounds of their marriage. Often, we hear people bragging about having “work husbands, and work wives”.
It may seem innocent but what happens when that “work husband and or wife” starts invading the private space that only a spouse should share and little by little distance begins to grow between the married couple.
Devon also writes “build a better fence”, this metaphor illustrates the importance of boundaries in your marriage. Boundaries allows individuals to safe guard their marriage by setting limits on how much contact they have with friends of the opposite sex and how much they share.
Just like signs displayed in a yard, “beware of the dog”, you would not knowingly wander into this yard understanding that danger could be present. This warning allows people to know that if you cross into this area there is the possibility that you may be attacked by our dog, there are warnings within emotional infidelity as well.
According to Devon, fences are built for protection and privacy and they keep out individuals who may pose a threat. Physical threats should not be the only reasons that fences should be used especially in marriage.
When there are no fences or boundaries in place, other entities have the potential to enter your marital boundary and pose a threat to your marriage.
Emotional cheating may start off as an innocent friendship, however, if there are weaknesses or unmet needs within the marriage there is the potential for one spouse to emotionally detach from their spouse and create a bond with the person that they have been confiding in.
Protecting your marriage from being wrecked by your friendships
Below are four ways to safe guard your marriage against emotional cheating.
1. Disclose in limits
Limit the disclosure of intimate details of your life with individuals that you are not married to.
2. Stay open to communicating with your spouse
Set firm boundaries and be open in communicating unmet needs with your spouse. Let your spouse know that there are areas you would like to work within your marriage with them.
3. Don’t keep secrets from your spouse
Do not keep secrets or hide things from your spouse regarding meeting or excessively being available to “friends”. If there are times that you feel you should hide your “friendship” and activities you both do from your spouse, you should not engage in them.
4. Be willing to accomodate your spouse’s opinions
If your spouse is uncomfortable with your friendship with someone, respect their feelings and be willing to dissolve the relationship.
Your spouse that you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with should be your priority therefore, if they are uncomfortable with your friendship or the amount of time you spend with this friend, your friend should understand that distance is needed and be willing to respect your wishes to limit or eliminate your contact with them.
Not to say that friends are not important at all, but you should always draw a line to prevent your friendships from affecting your marriage in a negative way.